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New Learning Japanese Project and Traveling in Japan

I have been traveling around Japan for the last 4 weeks. I still have another week left before going back to the states.

After living in Japan for 7-8 years, I come back about once a year so my kids can see their grandparents and to visit friends. We always have a great time and enjoy our trip, but this year was different. This year I found opportunity and remembered why I fell in love with Japan in the first place.

I found myself wanting to share these experiences again. Except, I couldn’t. After a long period of focusing on other things this site was broken. I had also deleted my twitter account in order to streamline my online presence.

After a little bit of work, this site is working again.

But I want to take it further.

I am starting a new Youtube channel all about Japan, the culture, and learning the language. I am bringing back several items from Japan to give away to subscribers, including figures, toys, and Japanese manga.

I am already planning my next trip back to Japan.

I need your help!

To make the best videos and offer the best giveaways, I need to know what you want to see?

In the comments section, please let me know:

  1. What you want to see- are you interested in traditional culture, do you want to see pop culture, anime, games?
  2. What are your favorite shows? Who are your favorite actors and musicians.
  3. Which places in Japan do you want to see?
  4. What help do you need with Japanese language or traveling in Japan?
  5. Are you interested in living or studying in Japan?
  6. What kind of items would you like to see as giveaways?

I’m really excited to get started on this project. With your help, I can produce the videos and content you really want to see.

Please comment and let me know what you would like to see. I look forward to hearing from you.

**It appears that the comment section is currently not working. I am working on fixing this. I am sorry if you tried to post and were unable. Please come back again soon to let me know your preferences. **

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To Learn or Not to Learn Kanji?

kanji

Without a doubt the most difficult part of learning Japanese is learning kanji. There are over 2000 kanji in the Japanese language and many of them are complex and look very similar to one another. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that each kanji can be read differently depending on the way it is used in a sentence. Because of this, learning to read and write kanji will take much more time to master than the rest of the language. So the question is should you spend the time to learn it or not?

I think this the answer really depends on your reasons for learning Japanese and how much time you plan to devote to it. If you are learning Japanese to live or work  there for a short time or plan to travel there for vacation, then you probably don’t need to learn more than a few very basic kanji. It’s not that learning the kanji won’t help you, but the time you will need to spend learning them won’t be worth the value you will get if you are only visiting Japan for a short time.

For those who who plan to master the Japanese language, live in Japan for more than a year, and especially for those who plan to seek work in Japan, then learning kanji is very important. It is also pretty much required for the majority of jobs in Japan. Since most writing is now done in electronic form (computers) you don’t necessarily need to be able to write them, but you do need to be able to read them. Most documents and government forms are written using kanji. If you can’t read them then you will have to depend on someone else to translate it for you. Not too mention if you can’t read kanji you will have to sign contracts for things like apartments and cell phones without knowing what they really say.

Once we learn to read and write we take these abilities as granted, but they are very important to live and function in society. Having lived in Japan now for a while I see just how important reading is. I also wish I would have spent more time studying kanji when I was I college. So if you are planning to learn kanji I recommend that you start as soon as possible and continue to study at a steady pace. It will take some time, but the benefits are well worth it. The positive side of learning kanji is that it is easier to remember Japanese words once you learn the corresponding kanji.

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